Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Let's Just Power Forward

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:

Bon, Bon, Bon. I share your sadness regarding Mr. Tisdale. I am not any great fan of basketball or for that matter any of the gladiatorial arts. I prefer violins to violence -- though, oddly, I prefer sex to sax. But I developed an appreciation for cagers as a result of Mr. Tisdale's grace off the court. When I heard he had passed, my heart sank, but then it rose, because it was following him to his final destination.

Who will now take the torch?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Bon Schmidt: First Wayman Tisdale passes away, and then we learn that premier Smooth Jazz oasis KKSF has been raped by Clear Channel and turned into a 70s rock station...it has been a bad bad time. SJ hater Brad Kava reports about it here. It is a hard time for the fans of the smooth. Be strong, my breatheren.

Obviously a station is not as mighty as a soul, and Wayman Tisdale, a man who enjoyed two huge careers in one brief lifetime, shown brighter than most. His 1989-90 season with the Kings was that which basketball legends are made of. His 2001 mind-blower FACE TO FACE retaught the world what a bass could sound like (and "When I Open My Eyes" warms my soul like a soft down blanket). He fought his cancer like he played on the court, like he grooved to the audience. We will miss him.

To my man Quent...a man who I truly have the deepest of feelings for...in a time when my feelings are flowing like the Yangtze River drank from by one of the Five Chinese Brothers...this is a rough time. We need to get back to the smooth.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Make It Ruff, Make It Smooth

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:

The other day I was in La Jolla and happened to run into Bon Schmidt at a record store. He was buying a Jan Hammer record, so I can tell you first that he is a man of his word, assuming that word is "smooth." We shook hands and he left. Later, much later, I noticed that he had slipped a note into my pocket. I don't know how he did it. It was a note about keeping the faith, and it was inspiring enough that I will reprint it in full here:

"Quent," it says -- he calls me "Quent" -- "there is rough and there is smooth in life, and we should never be afraid to admit that we like smooth, for we are the monarchs of our own life, and a good monarch prefers peace to war, prosperity to poverty, and ease to difficulty. If I am a monarch, music is my kingdom, and smooth jazz is the key to that kingdom. Go on like butter, Bon."


Sunday, April 26, 2009


Bon Schmidt: There was a neighbor of mine who was always trying to get me to listen to the Yardbirds, Blue Cheer, Led Zep…all of that stuff…when we were lads. I, in turn, tried to make him understand the true genius of Stanley Clarke and Spyro Gyra. As would be expected, we had little to relate to on the music end, and focused more on our joint appreciation of rollerblading. I took him to a Gyra concert a few years ago, and he totally flipped; since he passed the bar, the guy seems to have really gotten his head together about what I have been trying to hip him to (I have no idea if there is a connection).
So he took me kicking and screaming to the Jeff Beck show at the Fox Theater in Oakland last week and OH MY JIMENY the show I witnessed took my breath away. The Fox is a beautifully restored theater for starters. When Beck hit the stage, it was obvious from the first note that something special was going on. I was expecting banal rock antics. Instead, I got a smoother Jeff Beck…instrumental with a bass player that was RIGHT UP THERE with the feel and suavity of a Sting or Nathan East….and look again: it is a GIRL by the name of Tal Wilkenfeld! The two really locked in and the sounds were oh so pleasing…think of some of Joe Sample’s recent stuff. Near the ending of the show, they both played her bass…Beck on the lower strings…forming a momentary relationship that was as unique and dare I say it ROMANTIC as any one of I have seen on a stage in a long time. Long Live Jeff Beck and welcome to the smooth side.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Markets Are Broken

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:
I was recently vacationing in Naples. Naples, Florida, that is. I have come over the years to love 107.1 FM, your headquarters for smooth sounds and easy living. In recent years, it has migrated to 100.1 FM. This time, though, even that was no more. I was gobsmacked. When I got home, I looked all around the Internet until I found this account. We must stop the bleeding. Smooth jazz is being shoved out of the way rudely by "an upbeat, high-energy, rhythmic selection of songs intended to make you 'feel good.'" Sirs, I do not feel good. I feel robbed.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Bail Out We Can Believe In...

Tweez sez: What proof of the prejudice running rampant in our country right now? While the government and media are obsessed with AIG, GM, Citibank and other temples of wanton greed, a critical sector of monumental national interest is being left to flounder. Muzak, the font of creativity that gives the gift of Muzak to every dentists office across this great country of ours is going bankrupt. And yet Geitner is silent. And to my knowledge, Obama is still yet to make a statement on his administrations response to the collapse of the Muzak sector. Use this email link to make your voice heard. And remember. We have a right to bear arms people!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Braun Over Brains

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:
So happy that Boney James came up, because it gives me a chance to also point the smooth jazz finger of distinction at his sometime collaborator, the trumpeter Rick Braun. The two of them once did a supersmooth superurban supercover of "Grazing In the Grass." Does everyone remember? I don't have much more to say about Braun, except this:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

...his name is B-O-N-E-Y

Bon Schmidt: Where have we gone with this blog? Talk of cruises? Nephews? Frakin’ Allen Kepler? ALLEN KEPLER? That guy ain’t cool…he is a douche…everybody knows that. Good taste in music does not an icon make, car-peesh? HE IS A FAILED TRUMPET PLAYER! Why do you think Norman Brown took off and won the Grammy without him?
Okay, I cannot verify that last factoid, but I can relate this: I thought we were theoretically pontificating about MUSIC in this space…the stuff that stirs us to the souls of our bones…to that deep place where the work-a-day world tries to get to, but only the smoothest of sounds can.
I have been reading these posts and feeling wirey, my friends. And that—THAT--is when I turn up the Boney. Boney James, ladies and gentleman. The Urban Smooth Jazzer. The former winger to Morris Day, The Isley Brohers and the legendary Bobby Caldwell. HE is the natural offspring of the Kenny “Starbucks” G movement…hell, he even brandished the hair!
I snuck into the Warner Bros. Records building to see him play for the staff pre-Sweet Thing (1997). He played his heart out and the mostly older female audience (sexy) was triumphantly absorbed. To me, that era was thee finest…muy sweet, muy smooth…the Rufus cover (title track), the flowing solo on “It’s All Good”, Peter White’s accordion and AL JARREAU!!!! Pure goodness.
What’s more, guru Paul Brown produced a record here that shows off the sexiness of the new Bryson C-Series! Not many records can boast that!
A decade later I saw a Boney again flow a fantastic Smooth Jazz All-Star Cruise (admittedly)--you can espy me (if you don't blink) grooving on the youtube video of Stone Groove (my hair was a little shorter then). Boney takes R&B and smooths it out to the groove that I truly love.
Let’s stick to music, fellas….and I dare you to beat the Boney.

Blood Is Thinner That Smooth Jazz

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:
I have a nephew who hates smooth jazz and as a result I hate him. Still, he is my breeder sister's offspring and so I am obligated to listen to him go on about his "Black Lips" and "Ponytail" and "White Stripe" and whatever other wretched music is being dumped into the cavity between his ears. The other day he called me. He was out west, in a city he would not name, and he stumbled upon a performance by Chuck Mangione. What? That's what I said: "What?" He told me that he went in and stood at the back of the hall and listened to Mr. Mangione and his band. "He played some meandering formless thing that went on for ten minutes," he said. "It was like being hit in the head by a foam hammer."
Was it "Love the Feelin'?" I said, referring of course to one of the anchor tracks of his 1976 album "Main Squeeze."
"Whatever," he said.
I am sure it was "Love the Feelin'." And one day I will love the feelin'...of disowning him.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Love Boat

Errm. How on earth where we left out of the loop on this? The Smooth Jazz Cruise? There have been seven annual sailings. Who knew? I never learned to swim, but that would not stop me heading down to Half Moon Cay with the likes of Euge Groove and the finger-tastic Jake Shimabukuro.

Smooth Jazz has, of course, been the official music of cruisin', ever since this...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Allen Kepler for President

Tweezer Cohen opines: There are two types of people in this world. Those who like their Smooth Jazz on the classic side (and lord knows there are enough members of this web site fraternity who can you bore you drooly about that dust covered historical irrelevancy.) and those who like their sounds on the Fresh side. The question is... who turns you onto Smooth Jazz innovation? Who is the voice of progress? Gives you your fix? Is the pusherman, so to speak? The answer for me to each of the last questions is Mr. Allen Kepler, the host of the Smooth Jazz Top 20 countdown on the Smooth Jazz Network. If there was a Pullitzer for Smooth Jazzery, Kepler would have a very full shelf-above-the-fireplace if you know what I mean. And with his angular cheekbones, Roman nose and articulate eyes, he is an all round model for today's smooth jazz listening youth. If anyone else can name me a more influential progressive force in our community, I would love to hear from you...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lookin' like Mr. G

We asked you for your Kenny G look-a-likes and you answered. This was sent in by Marlene in WIndsor, Ontario of her boyfriend, Ahmed. "Kenny G with a deviated septum" she says. We hear you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


It is with great sadness that I share the following information with you.  From Jazz Times...

Two members of flugelhornist Chuck Mangione's band were among the 50 people killed on the plane that crashed into a Buffalo, New York house Thursday night.  Publicist Sanford Brokaw told the Associated Press that flutist Gerry Niewood (pictured) and guitarist Coleman Mellett were aboard, en route to a Mangione gig in Buffalo Philharmonic that has now been canceled.  Niewood recorded and performed with Mangione from 1968-76 and sporadically since the late '90's, and also recorded with a wide range of artists including Peggy Lee, Patti Austin , Simon and Garfunkel, Bob James, Lalo Schifrin and Grover Washington Jr.  Niewood also recorded a number of albums as a leader.  Mellett's recording credits include appearances on albums by the Sugarman Three and Eddie Landsberg.  He also released a solo album in 2007 called Natural High.  

Down and dirty flautist

SJ purists may scoff at the soul flute stylings of Jef Kearns, but I for one am overjoyed at the arrival of such a brash and boundary-smashing talent. Kearns brings a dash of urban chic to the comforts of our Smooth Jazz party. One listen to a pulse-racing cut like "Lavender" and you'll agree that this is one down-and-dirty Flautist! Kearns makes his silver stick sing in the best hot love SJ tradition.

Kearns' revolutionary style will surely ruffle some feathers out there, but so what? So what if he arrives in our scene from the distant teeming jungles of urban hip hop? So what if he's got a strange porkpie lid and strange n' youthful close-cropped haircut? So what if the cover art of his debut album "On the Level" is done in that grafitti-marker font heretofore utilized exclusively by blingy MCs? Be not afraid. As the saying goes, "Nu Jazz. No rules."

Yeah, Boy

Quentin E. Klopjaeger writes:

The other night, I was preparing a post about women in smooth jazz. There was too much pushing and shoving and pulling it out to show it, and I wanted to bring things down to a smoother level. I thought we could be in Japan with Keiko Matsui or in Dutch with Candy Dulfer or in heaven with Joyce Cooling. But my desire to skew female seems to have run into some G-male trouble. Everywhere I look, someone's posting about Kenny G. This guy looks like him. That guy looks nothing like him. The other guy's standing next to him on set. I have nothing against the man -- I love his music -- but the focus on him at the expense of other artists started to depress me, and not even a dose of his sublime "Havana" video, featuring Savion Glover, could lift my spirits.

No. I lied. They were lifted.